August 14, 2011

Cauliflower Stir Fry 清炒椰菜花

chinese, Cauliflower, Stir Fry, recipe, vegetable

We always like to investigate new food happenings and so it was with the recent rash of small neighborhood 'organic' markets.  Especially so since we have been feeding our wee toddler with a mostly organic diet.  We had checked out the 'organic' market organized at the Star Ferry in Central on the weekend and were disappointed.

But then one quiet humdrum day, just around the corner from where we live, we discovered a new little organic market shop, rough and ready, rather with the charm of a farmer's market: surly shopkeeper, mouser cat and all.

chinese, Cauliflower, Stir Fry, recipe, vegetable

Here we found this organic cauliflower, looking like no other cauliflower we have seen before, large  and open with stalks flying every which way in lopsided order, lovely light green stalks with pale yellow flowered tops.  I've since discovered that these are called 'green stem cauliflower' and are sweeter and more tender than the regular cauliflower.  I definitely prefer these, much tastier!

You can simply cut it up and steam for baby's dinner, pureeing after steaming if baby is still too young for solids, or leaving in chunks if baby has graduated to bite sized chunks.  When baby was little we didn't put any seasonings on this dinner entree since the cauliflower has enough wonderful flavor by itself.

Nowadays what we most prefer, including the little one who has recently graduated to eating mostly the same as what we eat, is this simple Chinese stir-fry highlighted with sesame oil and spring onions, which really complements the wonderful flavor and texture of this vegetable.  Delicious!  No matter how much is made, it is always all gone by the end of dinner. And to think neither of us ever used to like cauliflower at all...
Cauliflower Stir Fry Recipe 清炒椰菜花
(Prep time: 3 mins  Cook time: 5 mins)


  • 1 small head Cauliflower, or 1/2 large head
  • 2-3 Tbsp oil (we use organic peanut oil )
  • 2 slices ginger
  • 1/4 Tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock (without msg is best, please check the label)
  • 1/2 cup spring onion, cut to rounds
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil (use 100% sesame oil, check label)


You can see from the ingredient list that it is quite specific. This very simple dish has few factors, therefore the taste quality of each factor becomes important.

Wash and cut cauliflower into florets.  Shake as much water as you can from the cauliflower.  Heat wok at medium high until it starts smoking, add oil and swirl to coat wok.  Right away add ginger slices and stir briefly to infuse ginger essence into oil. 

Add cauliflower (Careful here!:  There will be a loud hissing and spitting of oil as any water left on the cauliflower hits the hot oil.  Just tip the bowl containing cauliflower into the wok facing away from you and watch out for that spitting oil) and stir to coat all the cauliflower florets with oil.  Add salt.  

Keep stirring until the florets start to show some brown spots (about 2 minutes), turn down the heat to medium low, add the chicken stock and cover, stirring occassionally.  Let simmer for 2-3 minutes or until only a 1/4 cup of stock is left in wok (this will be the sauce).  The cauliflower should be soft, not crisp.  Add spring onions, give everything a toss and turn off the heat.  Add sesame oil, mix and serve.



  1. For the sesame oil, should it be the darker toasted variety or the lighter non toasted?

    1. Hey AD613, either kind is fine, the darker sesame oil is more intense in taste so adjust to your liking! ~ellen